How to find and recruit the best teachers

Sponsored: Rhys Howells looks at what schools can do to make sure the best candidates apply for their jobs

You’ve got an expensive decision to make…bigger press ads, more press ads, more publications or what about advertising online? What about an expensive executive search recruitment service? Either way, it’s going to take a large bite of your budget and may even deliver a negative return on your investment! 

Nowadays, the successful progressive and innovative schools are embracing newer, more relevant tactics, more akin to modern marketing best practices. So, what do schools need to do to find the best candidates?  

Really own your ‘brand’ 

Independent and international schools are good at creating and maintaining a well-known brand. There are far fewer in the education market compared to state funded schools, allowing for prominent exposure within their local and national teaching community. This strong brand concept results in teachers organically searching/visiting their websites and, if compelled to apply, will do so directly to the school. Independent schools can harness the power of a strong aspirational brand and not rely so heavily on extremely expensive methods of advertising. The irony is that many of these schools believe their adverts obtain an amount of prestige by advertising via third parties, however it is their own excellent brand that is driving the traffic to said websites in the first place. Harness the traffic to your own site with a careers site, enabling mobile applications (not application forms) and capture the candidates where they are fully engaged with your brand, not someone else’s.

Focus on conversion rates – advertise only to the relevant audience

As technology advances, job boards that simply present adverts to a passive, unengaged audience will start to fall behind. Most of the time, these candidates are more interested in resources and news than actual live jobs. As independent schools, you require a unique calibre of candidate, one that isn’t commonplace in the jobseeker market. Therefore, you need technology that focuses on quality not quantity. Find solutions that are looking at machine learning, artificial intelligence and smart automation technology to learn your unique job requirements and then serve both you and the candidates the right roles, rather than leaving you to fish in a passive pool. This technology exists today and scans databases to match exact roles to candidates using comprehensive data about their sentiment, preferences and behaviour, rather than just location and subject, to identify the strongest candidates. 

Use candidate experience as a differentiator

Independent schools should view the candidate as an online consumer. Candidates want real-time updates and access to information about their job applications. Slow, archaic and unfriendly recruitment processes will drive away the most talented individuals that come across your job adverts. Little do you know that this directly reflects on your brand as a school. Do you want to be a progressive, modern employer or an old-fashioned establishment; an already common perception of the independent sector? 

Target the quality state sector candidates

Amidst the worst teacher recruitment crisis in history, independent schools must now learn to fish in the bigger pond. There are many quality candidates in the state sector that have previously been overlooked and attracting them requires a different approach. Focus on testimonials using employee spotlights, content or profiles on your current staff to give a personal touch to the school’s employer brand. Try to reduce the ‘independent’ bias from your job descriptions: use phrases like, ‘high expectations and understanding of selective schools’ rather than ‘outstanding teacher with experience in the independent sector’. 

Do the processes differ from state school recruiting?

Both sectors are suffering the same challenges in terms of supply of teachers to the market. Independents have full autonomy around the way candidates submit their applications. You are not beholden to a local authority dictating the way things must be done and therefore it is imperative you take your unique opportunity to do what they cannot, to compete: streamline your application process and create a candidate-centric application journey. Do you need to collect the entire application form in one go, or can a candidate log their ‘initial interest’ with you using a form that draws data instantly from their online or social media profile with one click? Is your method mobile phone friendly? Over 60% of candidates view and aim to apply for new jobs on their smartphone.

For more information call Rhys Howells at eTeach on 0845 1962206

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